Why Sabbath-keeping Is No Longer Necessary Today
“Over the years I have had the pleasure of writing untold hundreds of articles. However this one is truly special! It definitely ranks pretty high in my top 10 list. Perhaps this paper is the single most important contribution I have ever made to Christendom. The Sabbath issue has been debated for centuries. Today we are putting this debate to bed. According to the historical evidence, the Christian church, from its very beginning has always believed that the weekly seventh day Sabbath, was an institution which ended at the Cross. Today, this age old belief has been vindicated and stands gloriously triumphant—silencing all doubt about the matter.”
I suspect this paper is going to be the cause of one hell of a stir in Seventh-day Adventist and mainstream theological circles… This is a defining paper and a lethal weapon against Sabbatarian arguments. – Brian Hyde – U.K.
(Special thanks to Brian for investing vast amounts of time to help edit this page while at the same time traveling abroad., very appreciated Brian!)
Part I – Reasons Why The Jews Cannot Rebuild the Temple
Part II Why, According to Scripture, There Can Be No Lawful Sabbath-keeping Today!
Part III Sabbath Abolished by the New Covenant
Reasons Why The Jews
Cannot Rebuild the Temple
The points discussed in Part 1 of this article have come directly from Jewish sources. it is important to understand that what we discuss here, are problems that the Jews themselves openly discuss when they are questioned about reinstating the temple services.
Many of the facts presented in Part I, has been gleaned from:
Keep in mind, there are less than 14 million Jews in the world compared to the 1.7 Billion Muslims, so in retrospect the temple mount is staying under Muslim control for the foreseeable future. Any attempt to take the Dome of the Rock and the temple mount from the Muslims would result in a catastrophic holy war, and the temple could not be built under such appalling circumstances. In fact the Jews in Israel would easily face complete and utter eradication by the danger such a overthrow would bring upon themselves. In light of this fact, allegations made by LaRouche and others about the Freemasons intending to rebuild the temple actually look quite ridiculous!
The following is a sad commentary of modern Judaism because, in comparison with the Torah (the five books of Moses), it bears no resemblance to the system of worship demanded by the Torah, for that has been rendered obsolete, being completely dismantled in AD 70.
The Jews have “bigger fish to fry” than merely Rebuilding the Temple in order to “get back to business as usual again.”
“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Jesus Christ
Nowadays it is forbidden for the Jews to enter the precise area where the Holy Temple used to be, because the Jews are all ritually impure. Whoever does so is violating a Biblical Prohibition punishable by death. In order for any of the Jews to be able to become ritually pure, the Jews would need the ablutions of the ashes of a red cow administered by a Cohen (Priest).
Let us assume the Jews have performed this ritual, and are now pure. Now the Jews need an altar. Just any altar wouldn’t do, it must be in the Temple area. Therefore the Jews must rebuild the altar. (I’ll bypass the problems with that, as they are too complicated to explain.)
The next problem is the location of the Altar. The Law is very precise about just where the Holy Altar must be located. It is forbidden to place the Altar anywhere else. When they built the Second Holy Temple, they had to find reliable witnesses who could testify to the exact spot. They found three such witnesses, the prophets Haggai, Zephaniah and Malachi, but the Jews don’t have any prophets or witnesses today. Thus, until a prophet (the Jews assume that it will probably be Elijah) comes and tells the Jews where to build the Altar (among many other things the Jews need to know first), the Jews cannot build the Holy Altar.
Without the Holy Altar it is forbidden to bring sacrifices.
Let us assume the Jews were able to build the Altar, properly, and in the precise location. The Jews would still need a Cohen (Priest) whose genealogy can be determined absolutely and verified.
Our next problem is that the Jews must appoint a High Priest, or all Service is forbidden. To appoint a High Priest, the Jews need a Sanhedrin, which is a body of 71 ordained rabbis acting as the Supreme Court of the People Of Israel. The Jews cannot assemble a Sanhedrin, because the Sanhedrin must consist of rabbis ordained with the Mosaic Ordination, which was transmitted from Rabbi to Rabbi since Moses. However, the Mosaic Ordination ceased to exist in the year 358 C.E. because of the persecutions Constantinius perpetrated upon the Jews.
There are yet other problems, such as Laws involving the Priestly Garments, the exact measurements of the Temple area, and many, many more, all of which demand as yet undiscovered answers.
And there are other types of concerns as well. The Torah does not even consider it a requirement on the Jews part to rebuild the Holy Temple until most or all the Children of Israel live in the land of Israel. And there is also the matter of the Return of the Ten Tribes to consider, which will be part of their Final Redemption. During the time of the return from Exile during the time of Ezra and Zerubbabel (Ezra 1-6) only three tribes existed; Judah, Benjamin and Levi. The other nine tribes no longer existed. No Jew has been able to prove the authenticity of being a Levite since their birth records were destroyed in 70 AD.
When these things have taken place, and the Jews have made lasting peace with their enemies; when all Jews have returned to the Holy Land of Israel, and religious Jews have complete temporal and religious control over the land, then the Jews will know that their Final Redemption has begun, and the Jews can then turn their thoughts towards rebuilding the Holy Temple.
Thrice daily, all observant Jews pray: “…and restore the service to the Holy Sanctuary, and the fire-offerings of Israel and their prayer you will accept with love…”
Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch, in his work, Moadim Uzmanim, in his treatment of the subject, ends off by saying:
“And according to what we have explained at length above, there are innumerable reasons why the Jews do not rebuild the Holy Temple or the Altar, nor bring sacrifices today. Nor does the repossession of the Land of Israel change that Law at all. The Jews are unable, and therefore exempt according to the Law, without a doubt, for many reasons, until the Messiah arrives…G-d forbid that anyone should reconsider or doubt this…And I only discussed these matters out of interest in the subject, due to love of the Holy Temple and the Holy Service.”
“Blindness in part is happened to Israel,” Romans 11:25. Modern Judaism is a complete violation of the Torah. Jesus the true and only Messiah said “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Matthew 23:38. In 70 AD not only was the temple and the city destroyed, something far more important was taken from them. The Rabbinical records of the Levitical Priesthood were destroyed. Without this it is IMPOSSIBLE to restore a Legitimate Priesthood in harmony with the Torah. The Levitical Priesthood, the Sanhedrin, and the nomination of a High Priest can only be legitimate if they are directly connected to the successive line from the time of Moses and Aaron.
The Jews attempted to maintain a Sanhedrin for another 300 years after the Temple and the Levitical records were destroyed in 70 AD, but in any case in 358 AD it came to a complete and utter end. The Sanhedrin maintained during those three centuries was illegitimate. Regardless of that fact, there is no possible way for the Jews to create a legitimate Priesthood or a legitimate Sanhedrin today. The successive chain was broken nearly 2000 years ago, and there is no possible way to fix this obvious problem. Modern Judaism is a complete and utter self-imploding contradiction against the Torah. The Jews themselves realize this, and that is evident by the wailing of thousands of Jews at the Western Wall where the temple once stood.
For more information about the lost records of the Levitical Priesthood see the first comment posted immediately following this article!
Modern Judaism really is in a sad state, and exists wholly by living in complete denial about how dire their religion is when compared to the Torah. The fact of the matter is, that modern Judaism cannot obey the Torah, and is ritually impure. Oh that they would accept the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb of God and be made white as snow!
What is even more sad than this, is that Sabbatarian Christians have attached themselves to this legal mess, and do not even realize it!
10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Why, According to Scripture, There Can Be No Lawful Sabbath-keeping Today!
Without the Levitical system, it is impossible to properly observe the weekly Sabbath. There was much more involved than merely resting from labor in order to keep the Biblical Sabbath. When the Levitical Priesthood came to an end and the veil was rent in twain from top to bottom the festal Sabbath likewise came to an end.
According to the Scriptures, the Sabbath was one of the FEASTS OF THE LORD! It is important for us to understand that the sacrificial system is deeply embedded into Biblical Sabbath-keeping, and for good reason!
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. 3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. 4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
In order to keep the Sabbath day holy, not only was it necessary to cease from manual labor on the seventh day; it was also required to perform animal sacrifices! Had Israel ignored this commandment it would would have been a sacrilege against both the sacredness and against the intended purpose of the Sabbath, which foreshadowed the rest we now have from sin, because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.
And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: 10 This is the burnt offering of EVERY sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.
These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: 38 Beside the Sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD.
1 Chronicles 23:31
And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the LORD in the Sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the LORD:
2 Chronicles 2:4
Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel.
2 Chronicles 8:12-13
Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the LORD on the altar of the LORD, which he had built before the porch, Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the Sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles.
2 Chronicles 31:3
He appointed also the king’s portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD.
For the shewbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.
And the burnt offering that the prince shall offer unto the LORD in the sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish. 5 And the meat offering shall be an ephah for a ram, and the meat offering for the lambs as he shall be able to give, and an hin of oil to an ephah.
All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel. And it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the Sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.
If the Jews could overcome all the obstacles discussed in Part I of this article, and restore the Levitical Priesthood and rebuild the temple and the altar, then modern Judaism would once again reinstate the sacrificial services and offer two lambs as burnt offerings each and every Sabbath in accordance with the Law and the prophets,! Wouldn’t that create quite a stir amongst Sabbatarian Christians?
Animal Sacrifices were as much a part of the Sabbath as it was a part of the New Moons, the Passover, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), or the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. Despite what some who think, it is impossible to keep the Sabbath with out performing animal sacrifices.
The only way to “KEEP” something in the Bible, is to “keep” it the way the Bible prescribes. Were these feast days to continue after the cross it would have been necessary for the Bible to give very explicit commands about HOW TO KEEP these feast days. But no where in the Bible do we find this new set of supposed rules.
To say that someone “KEEPS” the Feast Days today with out animal sacrifices is a complete self contradiction in terms. The animal sacrifices themselves were the center of what was eaten during the FEAST of that given “Feast Day.” Without the Animal Sacrifice there is no Feast Day.
As we have already observed in Leviticus 23:2-4 the Sabbath itself was one of the Feast Days. Furthermore we have observed that animal sacrifices were to be held on the Sabbath Day each week. Had the rules changed for the observance of the Sabbath there would of by necessity have been a new declaration in the Bible defining the new set of rules.
Not only does the New Testament omit the necessary set of new rules for how to keep the Sabbath; The New Testament does not reenact the law of the Sabbath in anyway. The most predominate Sabbath advocate of the last two centuries acknowledges this fact.
“The New Testament does not reenact the law of the tithe, as it does not that of the Sabbath; for the validity of both is assumed.” – Ellen G. White, Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, May 16, 1882.
Assumed, OH YES! But by whom? Ellen White! Her core teaching is based entirely on a presumption that has no scriptural support!
BOTTOM LINE: The Bible prescribes HOW TO KEEP THE SABBATH. No one, not even the Jews themselves are keeping the Sabbath in the manner that the Bible commands. Due to the reasons discussed during PART I of this article it is impossible for anyone to keep the Sabbath in a Biblical sense ever again, i.e. in the manner that the Bible commands. There is no New Testament command to keep the Sabbath, neither is there a command given that redefines the manner in which the Sabbath ought to be observed in the New Testament.
More than this, there is no record of a congregation of Christians gathering for worship, on the Sabbath anywhere in the Bible. For more info see - The Sabbath in the Book of Acts.
AND STILL THE PLOT THICKENS!
“And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment”. Luke 23:56
Deuteronomy 5:14, 15
“But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.”
These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.”
According to verse 22, verse 15 was spoken by God in the mount, and it is written on the tables of stone. Verse 15 was not an after thought. Moses explicitly says, “he added no more.” Verse 15 was not added to what God said, rather it was included in what He said on the Mountain. You must read BOTH Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:14-15 in order to have the COMPLETE COMMANDMENT – that was spoken from the mountain, and later written in tables of stone. This is not an either/or situation. You can’t pick and choose. Adventists like to quote Matthew 5:18, “one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” but they themselves have left out a lot of jots and tittles – in fact an entire verse that belongs to the Sabbath Commandment! The Adventists have depicted a hammer and a chisel defacing the Sabbath out of the Ten Commandments, unaware that this is precisely what the Adventists themselves have done. If you endorse the Sabbath today then you must keep the whole thing.
Adventist like to call attention to the word REMEMBER in the fourth commandment. But they really would like to forget the fourth commandment in Deuteronomy 5. In order to keep the Sabbath “according to the commandment” you must remember the deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt each and every Sabbath. This is absent from the Adventists practice and teaching, and understandably so. It would be out of place to require a Gentile Christian to remember the Hebrews Exodus from Egypt every Saturday and to further teach that they will forfeit eternal life if they fail to keep this commandment. And yet this is a part of keeping the Sabbath day Holy according to the Ten Commandments. It is not possible for Gentiles to remember that THEY were delivered from Egypt. Only the Jews themselves could fulfill this commandment.
The first words God spoke from the Mountain were “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Exodus 20:2, Deuteronomy 5:6
Q. Who is God speaking to?
A. The Hebrews.
Q. Who is He exclusively making this covenant with?
A. The Hebrews. (See Ephesians 2:12)
God reminds us of this fact, right in the heart of the fourth commandment. In a few moments we will look at Ephesians 2:11-20, which teaches us that God removed the commandments that were restricted to the Jews, so that the Gentiles could join God’s people.
The Hebrews agreed to obey the Covenant given at Mt. Sinai, whereas Christians agree to obey Jesus and thereby enter into a New Covenant relationship with God. Gentiles have never been placed under the Covenant given at Sinai. In a legal sense Gentiles never had, nor ever will be obligated to the Sinaic Covenant. See Galatians 4:24-21.
Since there appears to be two versions of the Ten Commandments, the Adventist only believes in keeping the version that they are comfortable practicing, thus agreeing to obey the Sinaic Covenant. In light of Deuteronomy 5:22 there are not two versions of the Ten Commandments, rather there is only one, and the two accounts given in the Bible each fill in the pieces for what the other lacks. Exodus 20:11 references creation, and omits the exodus, Deuteronomy 5:15 does the opposite, it references the exodus and omits creation. Other than this the two accounts of the Ten Commandments are identical.
Exodus 20:11 and Deuteronomy 5:15 WERE BOTH SPOKEN in the mount and were BOTH written on the tables of stone. We find this same type of thing happening in the Gospels, where one account gives certain details that the other does not. That is why we must study “line upon line. here a little and there a little. ” In any case, both versions of the Ten Commandments include the “gates” which is a reference to the gates of the cities of Israel. The Sabbath commandment according to both versions of the Ten Commandments was to be observed within the gates of ancient Israel.
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: Exodus 20:10.
Give special attention to the way that Deuteronomy – once again – gives us a more complete account of the fourth commandment. “. . . that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.”
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. Deuteronomy 5:14
“Abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” Exodus 16:29.
Those who lived in the country were not permitted to travel on the Sabbath and had to remain in their homes. Those living in the cities were only permitted to travel from their homes to the synagogues and then back home so long as it was with in the allotted “Sabbath Days Journey” of 2000 paces. This is why the women had to rush home before the Sabbath, and could not return with their spices until Sunday morning to care for the body of Christ. “On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” Luke 23:54-56, Luke 24:1
Keeping the Sabbath “according to the commandment,” was a corporate experience. Translating this into modern terms: a Seventh-day Adventist who lives in New York does not truly keep the Sabbath so long as millions of people desecrate the Sabbath with common labor within the boarders of New York City. In order to truly keep the Sabbath according to either version of the Ten Commandments the Seventh-day Adventists would have to rectify this in every city the live. If so much as a stranger within their gates desecrated the Sabbath it brings sin upon all “according to the commandment.”
For further evidence about the importance of the gates in ancient Israel’s observance of the Sabbath see Jeremiah 17:21, 27, and Nehemiah 13:15-21. In fact it would be beneficial to read the entire book of Nehemiah with the Sabbath commandment in mind, you will walk away from this reading with a fresh new appreciation for that book of the Bible. Only the Jews in ancient Israel could fulfill Sabbath according to either version of the Ten Commandments.
Is there a distinction between Commandments and Ordinances? Keep Reading this post!
The great virtue in life is real courage that knows how to face facts and live beyond them. –D.H. Lawrence
Jesus released us from the Sabbath Commandment.
Let us consider Christ’s treatment of the woman caught in adultery, as recorded in John chapter 8. The Law said she ought to be put to death. The Law was very clear about the matter. She had been caught in the act of adultery so that there could be no question about her guilt. The Law made no provision for mercy in her case. If she was judged strictly by the Law, she deserved to be put to death by the Law, and would not have been shown any mercy. Jesus released her from the Law, by granting her mercy. The mercy bestowed on her was given exclusively on the authority of Christ apart from the Law. We need to realize the enormous relevance of this event.
What Christ did here was contrary to the explicit command in the Torah. Christ demonstrated that His word of mercy and gift of forgiveness carried greater authority than the Law. Christ released the woman from the letter of the law that condemned her, with the words, “neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more!” In one breath, she was released from the law that condemned her and was placed under the Law of Christ, with the words, “go and sin no more!” These words demonstrate that forgiveness through the gospel does not give a license to disobey the commandments of Christ. Christ Himself gave commandment against unlawful divorce, against fornication and against adultery. The woman was forgiven, and in the same sentence she was reminded to be faithful to the teachings of the Savior.
Christ Himself was born under the Law and fulfilled all things regarding the Law and the Prophets. In some instances He even commanded others to keep it, as we find in the case of the leper whom Christ commanded to perform the relevant sacrifices commanded by Moses. However in this instance we find Christ exercising his authority over the law and the prophets so that His disciples and all Christendom that would follow would understand the commandments of Christ are greater and are of more importance for New Testament Christians. The commandments of Christ have greater authority than the Old Covenant Law.
Let’s take another look at how Christ demonstrated His preeminence over the Law. It was NOT NECESSARY to command this man to carry his bed on the Sabbath. Jesus could have stopped at healing him…
John 5:8-10 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
Jeremiah 17:21 Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;
The man who broke the Sabbath in Numbers, was not put to death for making a fire, as some people think, rather he was put to death for GATHERING WOOD on the Sabbath. In other words for bearing a burden on the Sabbath. Had he gathered the wood the day before there would have been no offense.
Numbers 15:32-36 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. 33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. 34 And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. 35 And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. 36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.
Jesus could have commanded the man He healed to wait until the Sabbath was over before taking up his bed and going home. But Instead Jesus commanded him to pick up his bed ON THE SABBATH day and to carry it. This was something Jesus did deliberately. He could have stopped at healing the man, but He did not stop there. So this goes beyond merely performing an act of mercy on the Sabbath. Jesus had already completed the merciful act, and could have ended things right then and there.
The Sabbath commandment specifically says not to compel your servant to do any labor whatsoever on the Sabbath. Those who follow Jesus are His servants. Jesus commanded His newest servant to carry his bed, during the Sabbath. This was an express violation of the Sabbath in either version of the Ten Commandments written in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.
It takes great courage to break with one’s past history and stand alone.
THE COMMANDMENT OF JESUS IS GREATER THAN THE COMMANDMENT OF THE SABBATH, BECAUSE JESUS IS THE LORD OF THE SABBATH!
Simply healing this man, was not the main issue. Rather it was when Jesus commanded him to carry his bed on the Sabbath day. There was no reason to do that; it was something Jesus did deliberately. JESUS RELEASED THE MAN HE HEALED FROM THE RESTRICTIONS PLACED ON THE SABBATH COMMANDMENT IN THE TORAH AND IN THE WRITINGS OF THE PROPHETS. The man he healed was now under a greater law given directly by Jesus Christ Himself. He was no longer under the Sinaic law, but was under the law of Christ.
It was incidents like these, the healed man commanded by Christ to bear his bed on the Sabbath, the woman released by Christ from the charge of adultery, and many other similar incidents, that eventually forced Israel to have to make a decision between Moses and Jesus. And ultimately, they made their choice—for Moses. Here was One greater than Moses, yet they failed to realize it. Stirred up as they were by what Christ said and did, they decided to reject Him and even sought to kill Him. Christ gave the clearest evidence that He was the Son of God, by the man He healed on the Sabbath as illustrated in this very story, and through the other miracles He performed. Clearly, this was no small matter to the Jews. Sadly in the end, they lacked spiritual discernment. When light came into the world they did not love the light but rather they hated it. They chose the Law that condemned them, over and against the Messiah who came to save them. So, in the end, the Law, which they preferred, will be that which will condemn them.
Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Matthew 27:25
Either we fall on the rock and are humbled, or the rock will fall on us and we will be crushed. We are either for Christ or against Him. No one can stand before the Law without being condemned by it. We all fall short of its standards. However in Christ we have His imputed righteousness, that satisfied the claims of the Law. Christ fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, and we have other New Testament passages that confirms that fact. And yet at the same time we find examples throughout His ministry that Christ was using to show us that we were going to be released from the authority of the Law and the Prophets, in order that we may be released from its power of condemnation.
Galatians 4:4-5 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Sabbath Abolished by the New Covenant
It does NOT MATTER which translation you use, THEY ALL SAY THE SAME THING!
v.14 All ordinances have ended.
v.16 The Sabbath is included in the list.
v. 18 Do not let anyone rob you of your reward.
v. 20 Why are you still following these ordinances?
EACH AND EVERY TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE has these identical elements.
KING JAMES VERSION: Colossians 2
v. 14 BLOTTING OUT THE HANDWRITING OF ORDINANCES
v. 16 LET NO MAN THEREFORE JUDGE YOU in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, OR OF THE SABBATH days:
v. 18 LET NO MAN BEGUILE YOU OF YOUR REWARD
v. 20 WHY, as though living in the world, ARE YE SUBJECT TO ORDINANCES?
NEW CENTURY VERSION: Colossians 2
14 He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross.
16 So do not let anyone make rules for you about eating and drinking or about a religious feast, a New Moon Festival, or a Sabbath day.
18 Do not let anyone disqualify you by making you humiliate yourself .
20 WHY DO YOU ACT AS IF YOU STILL BELONG TO THIS WORLD BY FOLLOWING RULES LIKE THESE?
This is not a positive or a reenforcing statement, as some Sabbatarians would like to believe; everything that is said about the ordinances and holy days, is negative. That is why the majority of Christians throughout history do not observe any of the feast days, which includes the Sabbath. We do not want to let anyone rob us of our reward. Paul asks, WHY ARE YOU STILL KEEPING THESE ORDINANCES? That does not sound like Paul is exactly encouraging them does it now? He says, categorically, that they are abolished and nailed to the Cross!
Again, the elements are:
v.14 ordinances have ended.
v.16 The Sabbath is included in the list.
v. 18 Do not let anyone rob you of your reward.
v. 20 Why are you still following these ordinances?
Sabbatarians argue that “ordinances”, here in Colossians, do not refer to the Sabbath, and by extension, the Ten Commandments, but rather to so-called ‘ceremonial laws’. But, this conclusion is simply not supported by scripture.
Deuteronomy 5:1 The Ten commandments are called “My statures and all My ordinances”
Ezekiel 20:19-21 The weekly Sabbath is called “My statutes and all My ordinances”
Nehemiah 9:13-14 the weekly Sabbath is included without distinction: “right judgments, true laws, good statutes, commandments”
Throughout the Bible, especially the Old Testament, we find an oft repeated phrase, viz. “yearly, monthly and weekly”. It can be shown that the “weekly” in this formula, is always the seventh-day Sabbath!
Pattern can be shown which proves that the Sabbath in Colossians 2:16 is the weekly Sabbath!
|1 Chronicles 23:31||fixed festivals||new moons||Sabbaths|
|2 Chronicles 2:4||appointed feasts||new moons||Sabbaths|
|2 Chronicles 8:13||annual feasts||new moons||Sabbaths|
|2 Chronicles 31:3||fixed festivals||new moons||Sabbaths|
|Nehemiah 10:33||appointed times||new moon||Sabbaths|
|Isa 1:13-14||appointed feasts||New moon||Sabbath|
|Ezekiel 45:17||appointed feasts||new moons||Sabbaths|
|Ezek 46:1-11||appointed feasts||new moons||Sabbath|
|Hosea 2:11||festal assemblies||new moons||Sabbaths|
|Colossians 2:16||appointed feasts||new moons||the Sabbath|
Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.
Ezekiel 20 calls the Second and fourth commandments, My statutes and My ordinances:
- 100% of the context deals with the Second and fourth commandments.
- There are only two sins discussed, Idol worship and breaking the weekly Sabbath!
- There are no “ceremonial laws” in the section even hinted at.
- Neither the word, “Law” or “commandment” are found in the section.
v.7 “…do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.
v. 8 But they rebelled against Me … nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.
v.11 I gave them My statutes and informed them of My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live.
v.12 I gave them My sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them v13 Israel rebelled … they did not walk in My statutes and they rejected My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live; and My sabbaths they greatly profaned.
v.16… because they rejected My ordinances, and as for My statutes, they did not walk in them; they even profaned My sabbaths, for their heart continually went after their idols.
v.19 I am the Lord your God; walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and observe them.
v.20 Sanctify My sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’
v.21…did not walk in My statutes, nor were they careful to observe My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live; they profaned My sabbaths.
v.24…because they had not observed My ordinances, but had rejected My statutes and had profaned My sabbaths, and their eyes were on the idols of their fathers.
v.25 I also gave them statutes and ordinances
v.39 As for you, O house of Israel,” thus says the Lord God, “Go, serve everyone his idols; but later you will surely listen to Me, and My holy name you will profane no longer with your gifts and with your idols.”
Deuteronomy chapters 5-6
Deuteronomy chapters 5-6 interchangeability uses the terms between the 10 commandments and what Sabbatarians falsely call the ceremonial law.
v.1 “Then Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: ‘Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances which I am speaking today in your hearing, that you may learn them and observe them carefully.’ ”
v.31 “ ‘But as for you, stand here by Me, that I may speak to you all the commandments and the statutes and the judgments which you shall teach them, that they may observe them in the land which I give them to possess.’ ”
v.33 “You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess.”
vs.1-2 “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.”
v.6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.”
v.17 “You should diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded you.”
v.20 “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the Lord our God commanded you?”
vs.24-25 “So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. “It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us.”
NEXT WE WILL PROVE THAT THE FIRST WRITTEN ACCOUNT OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WAS MADE BY THE HAND OF MOSES. “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances.” Colossians 2:14.
Hebrews 9:17-20 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. 18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
Exodus 24:7-8 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. 8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.
Sabbatarians teach that the covenant was the promise of the Hebrews, “All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.” 1. The Bible never calls the promise of the Hebrews the Covenant, rather it repeatedly calls the Ten Commandments the Covenant. 2. Moses did NOT write the promise of the Hebrews down and put it in the Ark of the Covenant. The Covenant is based on God’s words, “which MY covenant they brake” Jeremiah 31:32 (v.31-34 is the promise of the New Covenant).
The Covenant was ratified with blood in Exodus 24:7,8. This was before the rest of Exodus and the books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy was added to the “book of the Covenant.” Sabbatarian Christians teach that the only laws that were done away with in the New Testament were those which they call “ceremonial laws.”That argument is refuted when we consider the fact that the covenant that was abolished under the New Testament was ratified with blood before Leviticus was written.
The only things written in the “Book of the Law,” at the time it was Ratified:
The captivity and deliverance of the Hebrews Exodus 1-20
The Ten Commandments Exodus 20:1-17
Laws for slavery Exodus 21:1-11
Manslaughter Exodus 21:12-21
For one hurt by chance Exodus 21:22-36
Theft Exodus 22:1-15
Fornication Exodus 22:16-24
Usury Exodus 22:25-31
Slander Exodus 23:1-9
Sabbatical Years Exodus 23:10-19
Dealing with other nations Exodus 23:20-33
The Ceremonial Laws connected with the animal sacrifices, the sanctuary and the annual feast days written in Leviticus were not given until after the Old Covenant was ratified in Exodus 24:7,8.
Which means the ceremonial laws are not the primary thing that was done away with at the Cross. We are no longer under the ceremonial laws, In fact we are no longer under any of the 613 commandments in the Book of the Law, with the exception to those laws which were amended into the new covenant such as loving our neighbor, etc.The Old Covenant was ratified before God wrote it on Tables of Stone
The Covenant is Ratified in Exodus 24:7-8
Moses is invited to go up into the mountain after the covenant is ratified!
Exodus 24:12 (And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will (future tense; fulfilled Exodus 31:18) give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
Exodus 24:7,8 confirms Moses wrote the Ten Commandments with his own hand with ink before it was written in stone. Paul refers to BOTH the hand written and the stone versions of the Ten Commandments.
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 2 Corinthians 3:3,6
The Ten Commandments were written by both the hand of Moses in Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5 and by the finger of God on tables of stone. (Exodus 24:7,8; Hebrews 9:17-20; Exodus 31:18)The Ten Commandments were written by both the hand of Moses in Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5 and by the finger of God on tables of stone.
6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
The law we are “delivered from” contains the commandment, “Thous Shalt Not Covet” i.e. the Ten Commandments. The core of the old covenant is the Ten Commandments. At the time the covenant was ratified the only written account of the Ten Commandments in existence was written by the hand of Moses in the “Book of the Covenant.” He took the book of the covenant” and He ” sprinkled both the book, and all the people” Exodus 24:7; Hebrews 9:19.
The tables of Stone
The tables of Stone were not written with the finger of God until after the covenant was ratified. The reason this is important to understand is because Sabbatarians dismiss the Ten Commandments and especially the Sabbath from applying to Colossians 2:14-17.
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Colossians 2:14
The Ten Commandments were first written by the hand of Moses in the “book of the covenant.” The fact that the Ten commandments are written in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 is all the evidence we need that Moses did in fact write them with his very own hand. In reference to the handwritten account, Colossians 2:14 says this law was “against us and contrary to us.” In 2 Corinthians 3 Paul explains why. The Ten Commandments was “the ministration of death,” and ministration of condemnation” and contained letters which kill” condemn and make us worthy of death. We are no longer under the old covenant ministration of death, rather we are now ministers of the new covenant.
The Sabbath was “a shadow of things to come”
- The prohibition against traveling on the Sabbath foreshadowed the rest we now have in Jesus Christ. We do not need to make long pilgrimages to the ancient site of the temple, or to any of the “holy places” in Israel to find this rest. We may be unburdened from our sins and find peace with God, today, without taking a single step – in other words – we are not required to perform any good works whatsoever in order to accept salvation. The Sabbath, is absolutely the very best, ‘type’ or ‘shadow’ in all the Bible of “salvation by grace alone.”
Seventh-day Adventists do not understand how the Sabbath reference to creation week, serves as a ‘shadow’ because they have adopted the Investigative Judgment theory which teaches we must prove ourselves worthy of eternal life through perfect obedience to the law.
- Adam did not have to do a single good deed in order to inherit the newly created Earth, and the Garden of Eden. God had done all the work Himself, and the work that He did, He declared was “very good,” After God finished His work, he gave what He had made to Adam freely as a gift. In the same way we do not add to the works of Christ in order to become joint-heirs with Christ and inherit the New Heavens and the New Earth. Jesus has done all the work Himself, and the work He has done on our behalf, the Father has accepted as ‘very good.’ Jesus offers us this finished work freely as a gift. Adam did not have to add to the work of God in order to complete the creation of this world, neither do we have to add to the righteousness of Christ in order to become a new creature.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
- The animal sacrifices required on the Sabbath foreshadowed the rest we now have from sin, because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.
- The directive of the fourth commandment, to safeguard the Sabbath within the gates of ancient Israel foreshadowed the eternal rest we will have within the gates of the New Jerusalem.
- The mandate within the fourth commandment, to remember the Hebrews Exodus from Egypt foreshadowed Jesus Christ who came “to set the captives free.” Jesus is our Savior, our Redeemer. He is our Passover. The Sabbath was given in commemoration of their rest from Egyptian bondage; “therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.” Deuteronomy 5:15. Ancient Israel was obligated to remember the Exodus by the Law of the Sabbath so that this would serve as a shadow of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Colossians 2:17 (NIV)
These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
- Moses, the lawgiver for the Old Covenant, foreshadowed Jesus the lawgiver of the New Covenant.
“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken”
The Sabbath wasn’t the only portion of the Ten Commandments that was a shadow!
- “Thou shalt not kill,” foreshadowed the command of Christ against being angry with your bother without a cause.
- “Thou Shalt not commit adultery,” foreshadowed the command of Christ against looking on a woman with lust.
- The slightest attempt to do work on the Sabbath was an infraction that was a fatal mistake, and had terrible consequences. The man put to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath foreshadowed the fact that our own works cannot add to our salvation.
Grace is unmerited favor
“Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt” Romans 4:4
The righteousness of Christ alone makes us worthy of eternal life! We are saved by grace, through faith, it is not of ourselves, and it is not of works lest any man should boast. Jesus taught that we will be rewarded at the second coming “according to our works” however the Gift of Salvation itself is not earned because of the slightest good deed wrought by man.
The Sabbath served as a shadow of “salvation by grace alone” or what the fathers of the Reformation called “Sola Gratia.” The Sabbath teaches us how we must rest completely in Christ for our salvation. Paul warned the Galatians that if we trust in the law to add to the free and unmerited gift of God’s grace, that we are in fact following “another gospel.” The Sabbath itself stood as a beacon for more than a thousand years of the wonderful Good News the world would receive in Jesus Christ. Today, you have heard the scriptures proclaim the “Sabbath more fully.” “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Jesus Christ – Mark 4:9.
If you have been a loyal Sabbath-keeper for many years, just as I myself was for nearly twenty years, then I would like to invite you lay down the shadow and to accept the Gospel for which the Sabbath pointed forward to. I invite you to rest completely in Christ for your salvation.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.
2 Corinthians 12:9
“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness”
1 Timothy 1:14-15
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Thank you for reading this article, I hope it has enriched your understanding of this subject. If you feel that it has, then be sure to share it with your friends and loved ones.